Shoulder Wraps

Written by Devin Flanigan
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Icing down a pitcher after a ball game is a time-honored task for an athletic trainer, and the ability of that trainer to make a good shoulder wrap is crucial. The presence of cold therapy and compression reduce the pain, inflammation and swelling that are part of a pitcher's everyday existence. Anyone who makes repetitive side or overhead arm motions can benefit from a shoulder wrap--athlete and laborer alike.

An old-fashioned elastic bandage shoulder wrap is achieved by first circling the upper arm with the bandage to form a sort of anchor for the figure-eight wrap. Then the bandage is stretched over the shoulder and across the back, wrapping its way back under the opposite arm and across the chest. Though this is a cumbersome process, it provides great compression and allows ice bags to be perched firmly on all sides of the shoulder.

Shoulder Wraps: Brace Yourself

Since the traditional shoulder wrap is a complicated affair, it usually requires an experienced trainer to perform. Compression braces are available that conform to every joint, including shoulders, many of which can be frozen or activated for use as cold therapy as well. Being able to treat your own injuries is a necessity for the majority of those afflicted by shoulder pain who don't have the benefit of a training room.

After the acute stage of an injury has passed, it is usually wise to begin alternating hot and cold therapy. This flushes out toxins and excess fluids from the healing joint. Heat therapy should always be wet heat, involving a whirlpool or hot water bottle. Once healed, apply wet heat before activity and a cold therapy shoulder wrap afterwards to prevent re-injury.

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